Recruiting Blitz

The Territory caught up with recruits Willie Cooper, Alex Boston and Jhermaine McAroy. Click here to find out the latest on this talented trio. Cooper is scheduled to visit Florida State this weekend, Boston was at Maryland and McAroy will be in Tally at month's end. "We are really looking forward to it – I know my momma has the camera ready for a lot of pictures," Cooper said of an upcoming visit from FSU coach Bobby Bowden.

Willie Cooper is scheduled to receive a home visit from Florida State coach Bobby Bowden next week. Preparations have already started in the Cooper household.

"We are really looking forward to it – I know my momma has the camera ready for a lot of pictures," Cooper said and laughed.

Cooper will get an opportunity to speak with Bowden this weekend, when he takes his official visit to FSU in what is expected to be a critical week in the Seminoles' recruiting efforts. At least 10 prospects are scheduled to visit Tallahassee as National Signing Day (Wednesday, Feb. 5) quickly approaches.

Cooper, a standout safety from St. Augustine, represented Florida in last Saturday's CaliFlorida Bowl at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. The Californians won 26-15 to even the series at 2-2 in a game that features the top prep talent from Florida against the top talent from California.

Cooper, who finished with two tackles, said he thoroughly enjoyed the trip but was disappointed by his team's effort.

"It (team) was undisciplined, there was no chemistry and everyone was out for themselves," Cooper said.

Cooper still has every reason to be excited about the recruiting process. He is scheduled to visit Florida on Jan. 17 and Miami on Jan. 24. He said he may also try to schedule a visit at either Penn State or Georgia, but "I don't know if I need to or not. Right now I am looking to play college football in the state of Florida."

Cooper says he's "wide open" though many believe the Seminoles are thought to be a favorite. His idol growing up was Deion Sanders. Cooper is also playing basketball, averaging 12 points a game from his power foward slot. "Our team is a bunch of munchkins," Cooper said and laughed.

About 90 minutes west in Bartow, highly-regarded two-sport standout Alex Boston returned from his official visit at Maryland last weekend. Boston, who is also considered one of the nation's top baseball prospects, said he had a "great time" in College Park, Md., and came away impressed with head coach Ralph Friedgen.

"He told me I could possibly compete for early playing time if I report in shape," Boston said.

Boston, who will visit FSU Jan. 17, said he also was given the green light by Friedgen to play baseball for the Terrapins, who are coached by former Tampa Jesuit standout Terry Rupp.

Boston admitted, however, his baseball potential could be impacting his recruiting process in football. His parents, Nadine and Carlton, are handling any baseball issues that need to be addressed.

Boston's stance hasn't changed -- he hopes to play both football (defensive end) and baseball (outfielder) in college, though he's also expected to be a top-round selection in the major-league amateur draft next year. Boston was voted the fourth-best prospect at the 11th annual Team One National Showcase in Las Vegas last November.. The three-day event featured 33 of the best high school prospects for the 2003 major-league draft. Boston is a strong-armed right fielder who also clocked the fastest 60-yard time.

"I love them both (football and baseball)," Boston said. "I enjoy playing both of them."

Boston said he has talked to Bowden and FSU baseball recruiting coordinator Jamey Shouppe and said both are receptive to his goal of playing both sports. While Boston doesn't have an official visit scheduled this weekend, he could add East Carolina, under new head coach John Thompson, to his list in the near future.

Thompson, the Florida Gators' former defensive coordinator, was recruiting Boston at UF before being named the Pirates' head coach last month. Odell Haggins, a childhood friend of Boston's mother while growing up in Bartow, is recruiting Boston for the Seminoles.

In the Florida Panhandle, meanwhile, Pensacola's Jhermaine McAroy said he thoroughly enjoyed the holiday break.

"I was basically pumping iron, doing my job and taking a break from recruiting – just putting it all aside and taking a break from it," McAroy said.

While McAroy might not be the most heralded recruit, he has apparently made quite an impression on the Seminoles and defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews. McAroy, who also runs track – 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, triple jump (49 feet) and two relays – simply loves the aggressiveness needed to play football.

"I want to hit somebody – that's my main thing. I love hitting people," said McAroy, who lined up at nose guard one game last season and is being recruited by the Seminoles as a cornerback.

McAroy, who was born in Tallahassee, is scheduled to take his official visit to FSU Jan. 31. He's scheduled to visit Troy State this weekend, South Carolina Jan. 17, Florida Jan. 24 and possibly Clemson in February. FSU is considered a solid leader for McAroy, who said his favorite player growing up was Deion Sanders.

"I've been to Florida State many times and all the schools (visits), will be compared to Florida State," McAroy said. "Florida State is a great program and they (other schools) will have to beat them out."

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